ConvertKit founder explains how he went from $5K to $15M
Let’s end this week in an entrepreneurial mindset.
We have some business lessons shared by Nathan Barry, the founder and CEO of ConvertKit. These are lessons he learned when taking ConvertKit to $15M Annual recurring revenues (ARR), so you can be sure they’re worth listening to.
Obviously, building an email provider business is different to running e-commerce, an agency or an affiliate business. However, there are some business principles that apply to every industry across the board.
Let’s see what Nathan learnt from this crazy 8-figure rollercoaster:
Focus is everything: Yes, you can start something on the side. But if you want to make something great, it needs to become your central focus point.
In fact, a few years ago Nathan went all in on ConvertKit, moving it from a side project to his central project. At this point, he certainly had the resources and the audience to start a new project alongside ConvertKit, but he doesn’t. Rather, he chooses to put all his focus on ConvertKit and make it the best it can possibly be.
- Choose a niche: Nothing new, right? Nathan says that if they hadn’t finalized on a specific niche like an “email marketing for professional bloggers” service, it would have been hard to get the business off the ground at all.
- Word of mouth is the best way to grow a business: Don’t leave the future of your company in the hands of someone who just stumbled upon what you created – Instead, sell to the customers you want and then ask them for referrals.
- Find what works and repeat it: This is a key strategy when running campaigns, but the same also applies for all manner of business operations too. Run experiments. Test. Analyze the data. Then, when you find something that is working for you, be prepared to go all in on it.
- It’s possible to succeed with a small team: ConvertKit has 38 members in its team. At $15M annual revenue, this equates to a huge $400K per team member. Nathan says that at this stage, the team size should actually be double what it is.
This forces them to focus on the highest-leverage work. Equally, on the flip side of the coin, they can invest more on each team member, and craft the culture they want. Leading us on to…
- Culture is everything: Culture isn’t bean bag chairs and free lunch. Culture is creating an environment that makes people want to go to work. Creating a good culture is as hard as it is rewarding, but it’s fair to say that it’s incredibly important.
There is more in Nathan’s blog post, but we think these are some of the most valuable pointers from a marketer’s POV.
Though, we’re quite sure there are many other business lessons you can learn here. To your company’s growth!
TOF optimization for high ticket ecomm products
Are you selling high ticket items on your store? Yes? Are you wondering what the best optimizations are for Top of the funnel (TOF) FB campaigns?
According to Depesh Mandalia, ATC (Add to Cart) and IC (Initiate Checkout) work the best. Usually, ATC drives the most results.
- The more conversions that happen at TOF, the more stable the performance delivery is. Therefore, optimizing for ATC or IC events instead of Purchases will give you more data, leading to more stability.
- Time to purchase will usually be anywhere between 2 and 10 days, depending on how much explaining you need to do about your product. The time your prospects take in the decisional buying process is also a key factor here.
- By optimising for ATCs, you are more likely to attract those less likely to buy. But it doesn’t mean they won’t. You just have to build separate funnels for cold, warm and hot audiences. This will allow you to filter your prospects and communicate to them accordingly.
Many people think that ATC and IC are less valuable than PUR. However, FB just puts people into different propensity pots based on data. The value actually comes from your targeting and pixel history.
- If you optimize for Purchases while building a TOF audience, it doesn’t mean they will buy. Even though you’re filtering the users most likely to buy, it doesn’t mean they’ll be ready to make the leap.
- The other problem is that if you’re running a retargeting campaign, it will probably pull more sales. This will hurt your TOF optimization because it’s not getting rewarded with sales.
Well, that is what Depesh suggests doing. However, keep in mind that this is only based on what has worked best for him.
What works best for everyone? Testing everything you can!
Chrome zero-day update
If you have not already upgraded your Chrome to 72.0.3626.121, you should do that right this minute. – Google Threat Analysis Team.
Last week, they discovered a high-risk vulnerability in Chrome that could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code and take full control of your computers. This vulnerability is present on all major operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, and Linux.
This zero-day vulnerability is actively being exploited in the wild, with attackers targeting Chrome users.
The patch for this vulnerability has already been rolled out in the stable Chrome update 72.0.3626.121 for all OSs.
Go to Help -> About Google Chrome section of your browser and make sure your system is running the updated version of the Chrome web browser.
Let’s skip the flower copy and bullshit. We know all you truly care about is the BEST EPC
How about a guaranteed EPC? You got it! The Grabads team is THAT confident if you can bring in the volume. If there’s something you want, they’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.
No frills. No bullshit. Just good old fashioned GOOD business.
Spoiler alert: Grabads has offers that solve your nutra worries, after the bad news with some trials. Their team is closely monitoring the vertical’s pulse and bringing offers that can create good campaigns.
You focus on campaigns, Grabads focuses on the rest.
Here’s just a short list of from last week along with Network-wide EPCs, hand picked for WHAT THE AFF readers!
- Bitcoin Future – CPS (UK, DE, IT, CA, AU) – $15 EPC
- Miracle CBD Gummies – CPS (US) – $6.52 EPC
- Keto Pure Diet – CPS (US, CA, AU, IE, NZ) – $4.85 EPC
- Supr – Samsung S9 – Trial CC Submit (FR) – $1.34 EPC
Hit up the affiliate management team via Skype to get your unique links today and make sure you mention WHAT THE AFF for expedited approval.
- Liz Pontillo – live:lizp.ga
- Ben Brashear – live:bengrabads
They also have exclusive Crypto offers, Sweeps and much more they’d love to work with you on. You won’t be disappointed!
What’s next after ‘average position’ is removed?
Average Position, one of the original metrics in Google Ads, will be discarded later this year. It used to be a key metric for optimizing your Google ad campaigns. But as search ads have evolved, it’s fallen by the wayside and has lost most of its usefulness.
Fred Vallaeys, one of the 1st 500 employees at Google, explains the reasons behind the change and what it means for advertisers.
Why is Average Position disappearing?
Well, back in the old days of AdWords, Google used to sell ad spaces above search results to big companies on a CPM basis.
Smaller advertisers were sold ad spaces on the right side of the search on a CPC basis. So, as an AdWords Select advertiser, if your ad was reported as having an average position of 1, you understood it was the first ad on the right side of the SERP.
Google realized that ads from premium spots sold on a CPM basis were generating less revenues than right side ads sold on a CPC basis. So, they merged these advertising programs and made all advertisers compete for all ad spaces based on Ad Rank.
Now if your ad was reported as being in position 1, you knew your ad was shown before all others but not where exactly it was showing. It might have appeared at the top of the page or on the right hand side.
Over the years, Google kept introducing new updates such as:
- Ads below the search results.
- Right side ads disappeared.
- More ad spots were added at the top of the page.
- Thresholds and auction rules kept changing.
- New ad formats like shopping ads were introduced with a new layout.
- New search syndication partners were given some ad spaces.
All these changes kept muddling of the meaning of the ‘average position’ metric.
What does this change mean for you?
Rethink your bidding strategies. Unless you are running branded ads, bid-to-position strategies won’t work very well. It is far better to implement proper conversion tracking and let automated systems set the right CPC bids for each auction to achieve the target CPA or target ROAS.
Figure out ways of using new position metrics. Google has introduced four new metrics: “Impression (Absolute Top) %,” “Impression (Top) %,” “Search absolute top impression share” and “Search (Top) IS.”
These metrics tell you two things:
- How often your ads are shown at the top of the page.
- What share of all the top of page impressions you are getting.
Update your client reports. This one is straight forward. You will need to update your reports, replacing the depreciated metric with the 4 new metrics introduced.
Well, things are never going to be stagnant in any form of digital advertising and one has to learn to adapt to changes. Also, with this update, Google is just responding to the need of the hour for its advertisers. So, they would be keen to hear some feedback from and how this change will affect your ad campaigns on Google.
Spot the fake reviews
Not too long ago, we talked about the huge amount of fake reviews you can find on Amazon.
Fake reviews can obviously influence your buying decision negatively, so if you feel worried about this when buying on Amazon, we found an excellent tool that can help you.
You just have to paste the link of the product you want to inquire on. It will analyze and spot the reviews that are likely to be fake, and then calculate a new product feedback rating just based on the real reviews. Happy and safe shopping!
MOZ’s DA 2.0 Update and the misinformation surrounding it
Last month, Moz announced a new update to its Domain Authority (DA) Score: DA 2.0.
Here are some key highlights from the new update:
- Training set: Better understanding of sites which don’t rank for any keywords at all than it has in the past.
- Training algorithm: Switch from a complex linear model to a neural network. It has many benefits including a much more advanced model which can detect link manipulation.
- Model factors: Spam Score and complex distributions of links based on traffic quality and many other factors.
- Index: Moz now has an index of 35 trillion links.
Though DA is widely used by SEOs to measure the ranking strength of their websites, it has been somewhat controversial. Some SEOs who focus on it without proper context complain that it causes distraction and creates confusion.
Russ Jones from Moz explains the changes and clarifies the controversy surrounding it in more detail.
Simply put, Google doesn’t Use Moz’s Domain Authority as a Ranking Factor.
Instead, it’s just a metric Moz developed themselves, based on its own datasets and algorithms. There are many other companies like Majestic, Ahrefs and others who have their own internal ranking scores as well, so the waters are muddy to say the least.
The key takeaway is this: It is not a Google metric and it has ZERO impact on your website rankings on Google.
In fact, Russ has even requested an additional statement on the DA score in response to the fact that people are asking Google how to improve their DA scores.
There are many posts and emails floating around on social media which claim that sites are getting penalized by the updated DA algorithm. Then, they pitch their link building services to improve your Domain Authority.
Remember, this kind of misinformation campaign is a very common tactic to feed off your lack of knowledge and insecurity.
It all started in 2000 with Google’s own marketing hype around PageRank (PR). PR fever took over and link building became a big business. Then, Google removed PR in 2016 and these people began looking for another metric to base the link building economy around.
Beware of such kind of misinformation you see on social media. And don’t be fooled by sales pitches that promise to help improve your Domain Authority.
Just a warning about our tell-a-friend links…
No doubt you’ve noticed you can create a unique referral link with one click, right? Big thumbs up and thank you to all who shared!
If you haven’t seen it yet, check the bottom of this email.
Anyway… We’ve noticed many of you lovely people don’t confirm your email.
Yes, we know it sucks because you are already a frequent reader but we had to do it this way. Care to guess why?
It’s because people will input fake emails to get their hands on prizes. Shocking, right?
Don’t worry – The referrals you made will still be valid, but in order to properly track, you must confirm your email.
Please search for an email from email@example.com, with the name WHAT THE AFF and subject line “Just one step away from your daily marketing treat!” then click the confirmation link. Remember to let people you refer know to do the same too 🙂
We want to make sure you get what we promised! Have a great weekend!
Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.
Does chocolate milk come from brown cows?
We heard around that many people out there think chocolate milk comes from brown cows. 16.4M people only in the USA, to be precise.
Moreover, in a survey run recently, 48% of respondents didn’t really know where chocolate milk comes from…
What do you think? Where does chocolate milk come from?
We are starting to feel confused too… We’re quite sure that red wine comes from red grapes. But this milk thing is strange.
Some of The WTAFF Crew is already out there looking for golden goose and silver hens.
Maybe they want to hide something from us…We’ll let you know.
PS: We are being sarcastic.
PPS: Not really.